On September 9, 2021, President Biden addressed the nation from the White House briefing room, sharing
where we are in the battle against COVID-19, the progress we’ve made, and the work we have left to do.
His remarks outlined a series of executives orders and recommendations which have been met with controversy; I will briefly list them but there was one that I think no one can disagree with. He asked the nation’s family physicians, and I am one, to talk to our patients about the vaccine.
I’m already doing that and I think most primary care doctors are. But I think he should have taken it one step further, and that is to ask Americans to
Talk to your doctor about COVID-19
Like most of you, I am on social media, not just professionally but personally, and I have been appalled when people I know pass around information that is unverified, unreferenced, contrary to science, inflammatory, conspiratorial, and sometimes just plain nonsense.
I absolutely support anyone’s right to have an opinion and share it, but labeling opinion as truth when it may or may not be true is irresponsible. And I somewhat agree with Mr. Biden when he said ” These pandemic politics, as I refer to, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die. “
So I am asking you to make your personal physician your first line source for understanding the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the available vaccines.
Your doctor may not be an expert on the pandemic; we are all working overtime to keep ourselves informed and still take care of the myriad of other health conditons our patients bring to us. But the advantage is your doctor knows you, and any medical decision ultimately boils down to what you and they decide working together, it’s called “shared decision making.”
What if your doctor recommends against the vaccine? That’s possible because I know there are some medical professionals who have taken the minority opinion on the safety of the vaccine. I do not understand their position; some of the high profile ones are known for consistently taking a stance against mainstream medicine. If that’s the case for you, I encourage you to ask why they lack confidence in the vaccine and what would it take for them to change their minds. Ultimately, the choice one way or the other is yours, so be sure it is a truly informed choice.
President Biden’s plan
You’ve probably read or heard it in the news by now, but here is an outline of his major points.
Large employers, those with 100 or more employees, should require vaccination or weekly testing
Vaccination required for all federal employees and contractors
Vaccine required for employees in all healthcare facilities that are paid by Medicare and Medicaid, and all federally funded educational facilities like HeadStart
Large venues such as sports or concerts to require vaccination or negative test for entrance by patrons
Home tests available at cost at Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger
Federal funding for testing at schools and salary protection for teachers who protect children
Continue mask requirements on interstate travel and in federal buildings
Calling on the states’ governors to support viral mitagation measures in schools
Here is my previous review of President Biden’s original plan to deal with the pandemic as he took office in January 2021.
2021-National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness
President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their science and healthcare teams have developed a plan with 7 goals to end this pandemic and prevent others. You can read the entire 200 page report at the link. Here is a list of the 7 goals with a few of the points of each goal.
1. Restore trust with the American people.
- establishes a federal COVID-19 response team to coordinate efforts
- regular public briefings led by science experts
- track and make data available to the public by the CDC
2.Mount a safe, effective, and comprehensive vaccination campaign.
- increase the production of vaccines
- give states clearer projections on vaccine availability
- partner with states to create more vaccine centers
- launch a national campaign to educate and encourage Americans on vaccine
3. Mitigate spread through expanding masking, testing, data, treatments,health care workforce, and clear public health standards.
- asking Americans to wear masks for 100 days (note-this adds to any state or local recommendations or mandates on mask use)
- require masks on public transportation
- the CDC develop guidelines to help schools and businesses to reopen
- create programs to develop new treatments for COVID-19
4.Immediately expand emergency relief and exercise the Defence Production Act.
- increase emergency funding to the states for pandemic costs, including for PPE and use of National Guard
- invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of PPE, and testing and vaccination supplies
5. Safely reopen schools, businesses, and travel while protecting workers.
- develop a national strategy to reopen most schools within 100 days
- federal agencies to issue updated guidance on protection for workers
- asks Congress to provide financial aid to schools, universities, and daycares (cost in the billions)
6. Protect those most at risk and advance equity, including across racial, ethnic and rural/urban lines.
- establishes an equity task force to address disparities based on race, ethnicity, and geography
- create a U.S. Public Health Workforce to help with testing and vaccinations in their communities
7. Restore U.S. leadership globally and build better preparedness for future threats.
- rejoin the World Health Organization
- increase humanitarian aid and support efforts to fight COVID-19 around the world
- asks for Congressional support to establish a national center to prepare for future biological threats
Exploring the HEART of health
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